Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - hands-on

Playing Rockstar’s Bully made us realize how fun games set in school can be. And also made us wonder why EA has never made free-roaming, school-based Harry Potter games - obviously substituting the cricket bat weapons for magic wands and the bike-stealing with flying brooms. Surely nothing would be better than getting to explore the vast Hogwarts, go to Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons and unleash “Petrificus Totalus” on Professor Snape.

Well, you’re about to find out, because Order of the Phoenix is shaping up to be just that game. EA has painstakingly recreated 75 Hogwarts rooms - everything from the Great Hall to the Owlery and dormitories. And they’re all open for you to explore right from the start, as the game has a free-roaming structure, based around recruiting students into Dumbledore’s Army, the secret society Hermione and Harry have come up with to foil the sinister Professor Umbridge.

The newest addition to the game unfortunately only applies to the PS3 and Wii versions. Yes, it’s wand control, with both console controllers letting you physically cast spells. Obviously, the Wii remote makes the ideal wand, and waving it around directly controls Harry’s “wand hand.” You can lock onto targets using A, then flick the remote to push items (or other students), or wave it in a variety of ways to cast a spell.


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